Ethics, power and space: International hospitality beyond Derrida

Dan Bulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
8093 Downloads (Pure)


This article argues for the importance of hospitality in discussions of international ethics, suggesting that, while Jacques Derrida’s thought on the concept ought to be central, we also need to go beyond it. In particular, Derrida’s focus on the threshold moment of sovereign decision has the effect of reinforcing International Relations’ focus on the state as the only ethical actor and space. In contrast, this article suggests that we think of hospitality as a spatial relation with affective dimensions and a practice that continues once the guest crosses the threshold of the home. Conceived as such, hospitality reveals a constitutive relation between ethics, power and space, which directs us to the way hospitality produces international spaces and manages them through various tactics seeking to contain the resistant guest. This argument is illustrated through an examination of perhaps the most urgent of contemporary international ethical spaces: the refugee camp.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-201
Number of pages17
JournalHospitality and Society
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • ethisc
  • power
  • space
  • sovereignty
  • governmentality
  • refugee camps

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